Grassroots and Global Video
These videos were produced by Paul Connett from 1997 to the present.
GG Video is a project of the
The List of Videos
The three goals of GG Video:
• To expose cases of environmental injustice.
• To communicate scientific information on controversial technical issues
(like dioxin and fluoridation) with clarity and integrity.
• To document successful individual, community and corporate efforts to take
steps towards sustainability, with a particular emphasis on waste management.
The List of Videos
This site is under construction.
Video No. Year
Videos on Environmental Injustice: 1.
Oak Ridge: A Case of Broken Faith.
This video documents the plight of the workers at, and local residents of, the K-25 site (the former gaseous diffusion plant used to separate uranium isotopes in the manufacture of the atomic bomb) of the Oak Ridge Nuclear facility. Currently the K-25 site hosts an hazardous waste incinerator, which burns both hazardous waste (including PCBs) and nuclear waste, within 100 feet of offices where people work. Many of these workers and other plant personnel, as well as some local residents, are coming down with some weird neurological symptoms and other health complaints. The video documents some of the history of the facility and the runaround the workers are getting trying to get to the bottom of their health concerns. This video along with the efforts of local residents eventually triggered major media coverage of the plight of former nuclear workers. A major 4-part series appeared in The Tennessean out of Nashville. (See also Waste Not # 419.)
Released February 1997.
May 8, 1997: Day of Shame for the US EPA.
The WTI Hazardous Waste Incinerator in East Liverpool, Ohio. Part 1.
The WTI hazardous waste incinerator built in East Liverpool has a long and tortuous history, which has been well covered in the newsletter Waste Not. Suffice it here to say that siting of this incinerator on the banks of the Ohio Valley, in a 100 year floodplain and in an area subjected to frequent air inversions, 300 feet from the nearest home and 1100 feet from an elementary school, with the top of the stack level with the school’s front door was one of the most flagrant examples of environmental injustice to have occurred in modern America. Through the incredible efforts of local citizens this became a national issue. To soak up some of the political heat the Clinton administration ordered the US EPA to do a health risk assessment for the facility, which was released some three years AFTER it was built! At the insistence of local citizens and independent scientists the EPA, reluctantly, included an accident analysis in this risk assessment. On May 8, 1997, the US EPA publicly released this massive study (4000 pages) in East Liverpool, just one day after delivering a copy to the citizens, and before the deadline for the peer review for the accident analysis! The EPA had three meetings on May 8, one with the politicians, one with the media, and one with the citizens. Fortunately, a local citizen videotaped these meetings, and this GG Video is an edited version of these tapes. While the technical quality of this video is somewhat limited, it is an amazing document demonstrating how science can be manipulated to put the interests of big money over the welfare of ordinary citizens. But these citizens didn’t go quietly!
Released July 1997.
August 14, 1997: Day of Reckoning for the US EPA.
The WTI Hazardous Waste Incinerator in East Liverpool, Ohio. Part 2.
In the summer of 1997, Paul Connett, at the request of the citizens of East Liverpool, spent the best part of six weeks doing nothing but reviewing the 4000 page health risk assessment for the WTI facility. Though the EPA spokespersons described this as the "most comprehensive and sound scientific assessment ever done for a facility like this" (EPA Fact Sheet, May 8, 1997), Paul found that it was full of holes, especially on the accident analysis. (See Waste Not's 21-part series- #s 392-412.)
On August 14, Paul Connett and other critics of this risk assessment had the chance to put the EPA representatives (unfortunately not the same folks who presented it on May 8) in the hot seat and show them just how unscientific the assessment was. There were no satisfactory answers to the criticisms delivered on that day – and there have not been any since. If this exercise proves one thing it is that when science serves the controlling political interest, “science is king”, but when it doesn’t it is torn up and “policy becomes king”!
Included in this video is a presentation by Robert Indian, Chief of the Chronic and Environmental Disease Surveillance of the Ohio Department of Health. Mr. Indian said that he had hoped to present the cancer incidence data on East Liverpool but was thwarted from doing so by a clear case of under-reporting of cancer incidence data. For example, citizens were aware of two cases of male breast cancer in East Liverpool (pop. 13,000), but these cases were never reported to the Ohio State Cancer Registry. This under-reporting sparked off an unusual request from Mr. Indian. He asked that when citizens in East Liverpool were diagnosed with cancer that they should report directly to his office. (See also Waste Not # 411).
Released August 1997.
41 min. version
Aloes Weeping: A Case of Environmental Injustice in South Africa.
On a trip to South Africa Paul was taken to a small settlement in a community called Aloes, near Port Elizabeth. The people located at this site were employed at the local brickworks (the adjacent hills are made of clay). Unfortunately, this clay attracted the siting of a hazardous waste landfill. Worse the clay did not hold on to the hazardous waste and the leachate was emerging through the floors of little shacks in the Aloes settlement. To make matters even worse, subsequent to the landfill a medical waste incinerator was built below the settlement such that the air emissions fell directly upon them. Thus these people were scissored between two horrible sources of pollution. Paul interviews the leader of the community and a local activist. This tape was distributed to people in the US, including the South African Embassy in Washington, DC. The good news is that the people have been re-located, the bad news is that the articulate leader of the community has since died of cancer.
Released October 1998.
Treading Lightly in Waterloo but "No Standing" in Seneca Meadows (New York).
In the first half of this tape Linda Ochs shows just how much one individual can do to conserve resources (e.g. energy, water, discarded materials) and in the second half she describes the disheartening battle to have local citizens’ voices heard on the huge landfill (Seneca Meadows) which dominates the local surroundings. I am planning to include the first half of this tape in one of the future “Pieces of Zero” series tapes.
Released May 1999.
Videos on Waste Management: 13.
The Great Waste Debate. "Landfills are great potholes on the road to zero waste".
This debate was videotaped at the 1999 conference of the California Resource Recovery Association of California (CRRA), the largest pro-recycling organization in the US.
• Two speakers argued that continuing to build mega-landfills was sabotaging efforts to get officials to take the necessary zero waste strategy seriously. They were:
-- Mary Lou Deventer, Urban Ore, Inc.
-- John Moore, Stone & Moore Law Offices
• The other speakers argued that modern landfills posed far fewer risks than the older ones and were a necessary evil for the foreseeable future. They were:
-- Mark Berkman, National Economics Research Associates
-- David Gavrich, ECDC Waste Solutions Group
Released June 1999.
Zanker Road: A different kind of landfill.
The Zanker Road landfill in San Jose, California, receives largely commercial and non-hazardous industrial waste. The videotape shows how they are diverting about 95% of the received materials from landfill.
Released in August 1999.
American Soil Products, Inc. Helping things to grow in Berkeley.
This tape features an interview with Louis Truesdell, a former biology professor, who explains how with practically no capital he was able to build up a $3 million industry in Berkeley, California, producing a wide range of soil and landscaping products from forest, agricultural, industrial and municipal wastes. Parts of this video will probably reappear in a Pieces of Zero tape (either the “Organic Collection” or the “The Berkeley Collection”).
Released August 1999.
The Dangers of Burn Barrels.
This videotape was produced by Chris Neurath who has been a very strong and active supporter of many of the projects in which AEHSP is engaged. The video combines two short videos on back yard burning from Wisconsin and an interview with Paul Connett on the environmental health problems posed by this practice, particularly the issue of emitting dioxins so close to farmland in rural areas. More information on backyard burn barrels can be found at http://www.burnbarrel.org/
Released November 2000.
The Zero Waste Series:
Zero Waste: Idealistic Dream or Realistic Goal?
When Canberra, Australia (see video 26 below) passed a law in 1996 declaring that “No waste to landfill by 2010” it sent shock waves around the recycling community. It had an impact far greater than the calls for 100 % recycling. This was probably because it recognized that one cannot get down to zero by community efforts alone, but only with a combination of measures taken by industry at the front end (i.e. better industrial design of products and packaging). This tape was shot in San Francisco at the 1999 annual conference of the California Resource Recovery Association. Paul interviews some of the key theorists and practitioners of zero waste, including: Bill Sheehan, Gary Liss, Dan Knapp, Mary Lou Deventer, Neil Seldman, John Young, Ted Ward, Rick Anthony, and several others.
• This tape has been translated into Japanese.
Released September 1999.
Target Zero Canada.
Target Zero Canada was shot at a press conference in the former Toronto Stock Exchange in December 2000, to launch the Zero Waste campaign in Canada. The conference was organized by Earth Day Canada and hosted by its director Jedd Goldberg. Jedd introduces a list of “Zero Heroes” who have made major contributions at the corporate, community and governmental level to reduce the production of waste. These heroes include the
1) CEO of the Beer Store which has used refillable glass bottles for nearly 50 years and created 2000 jobs in the collection, cleaning and refilling of these bottles. By recovering 98% of these bottles this makes a net saving for the beer industry. By internalizing their packaging they have also relieved the burden from the community of both collecting and disposal of the packaging.
2) director of the Canadian division of Interface Carpet which is trying to make its company into the first multinational company which is genuinely sustainable.
3) Barry Friesen the Solid Waste-Resource Director for the Department of the Environment and Labour for the province of Nova Scotia. He explains how the province has achieved a 50% reduction in waste disposal in just 5 years. This program is featured in a later video – the first in the On the Road to Zero Waste series (see video 23).
Released January 2001.
On the Road to Zero Waste. Part 1. Nova Scotia: Community responsibility in action.
This video was shot during a week’s visit to Nova Scotia in July 2001 by Paul and Michael. It documents how Nova Scotia has reduced the amount of waste sent to landfill by a massive 50% in just five years and created 3000 new jobs in the process. The video is jointly hosted by Barry Friesen the dynamic and enthusiastic solid waste-resource director of the Department of Environment and Labour and by David Wimberly of the “It’s Not Garbage Coalition" who was one of the outspoken critics of the Halifax government’s efforts to build a trash incinerator. When the Nova Scotia government rejected this proposal they turned to the citizens to design the waste management program. They did. This is it and its working. A key part of the program is a residual screening facility built immediately in front of the landfill so that no untreated organic waste can enter. This is an excellent tape to convince local officials that they don’t need to waste the taxpayers’ money on mega-landfills and incinerators. There is a better way and it creates jobs!
This videotape has been shown in the UK, Ireland, Canada, Italy, Australia, and Japan. It has been translated into Sloveninian and over 1400 copies distributed there to local governments and high schools.
Released October 2001.
On the Road to Zero Waste. Part 2. Burlington, Vermont. Reusing objects retraining people
This video was shot in two filming sessions in 2001 and 2003 with some of Paul’s university students. It features the activities of Recycle North a huge reuse and repair center located in Burlington, Vermont. This operation employs some 27 people and has an annual income of about $750,000. It has several goals: diverting material from the landfill; poverty relief, and job retraining. People are literally taken from the streets and given 6 months training in the repair of objects in one of four divisions: large appliances, small appliance, electronic goods, and computers. After six months they get a certificate and receive help obtaining employment. Recently they have added a deconstruction (of old buildings like barns, houses, hotels etc) section to their operation as well as another site to sell the reclaimed building materials obtained from the deconstruction.
Released June 2003.
On the Road to Zero Waste. Part 3: Canberra, Australia. The First to Go Zero.
This video was shot on two visits to Canberra (July of 2002 and 2003). On both occasions Paul interviews Graham Mannall, Manager for Policy & Strategy of the ACT No Waste program. Graham shows the site where the new Resource Recovery Estate is being built (the government will own the infrastructure); as well as examples of the kind of business modules which will be co-located there. These modules will include a giant materials recovery facility as well as companies which will be seeking to make new products out of clean separated materials, and thereby capture the value added potential in these resources while at the same time generating much needed jobs. The kind of activities illustrated are huge composting facilities; deconstruction and reclamation of building materials; reuse of materials like lumber, household appliances etc; recycling paint as well as an education facility. This is an exciting tape and will surely persuade some local officials, who traditionally see the waste as a “disposal” problem, to see the issue differently and more positively. As of 2004, Camberra is diverting 70% of the waste from landfill.
Released July 2004.
Pieces of Zero, Collection 1. Creativity and Leadership.
In his travels Paul sees many creative and innovative activities which are making a contribution to the goal of reaching zero waste. They may not represent a total program but they are an important part: an important “piece of zero”. These pieces might come from individuals, whole communities or corporations. These vignettes vary in length, and are ideal for a school or college teacher to stimulate discussions in their classroom. This first collection (many more are in the works) plunders the VideoActive production archives and brings back solid favorites like “The Trashman Cometh”; “Joe Garbarino and His Piggies” as well as some recent footage featuring artists making their artworks from discarded materials.
Released June 2003.
• (2005) On the Road to Zero Waste. Part 4: Industrial Responsibility in Action
Videos on Fluoride:
The Fluoride Deception: An Interview with Christopher Bryson
Christopher Bryson, an award-winning journalist and former producer at the BBC, discusses the findings of his recent book The Fluoride Deception (Seven Stories Press, May 2004).
• This video was a joint production with Fluoride Action Network.
Video released September 2004.
NAS. September 23, 1997: Food and Nutrition Board unable to defend its inclusion of fluoride in List of Nutrients.
NAS = US National Academy of Sciences
After the fiasco with the EPA over the risk assessment for the WTI incinerator (videos 1 and 2), it is hard to imagine a worse example of manipulation of science, however the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine came very close on September 23, 1997. Paul Connett and Dr. William Hirzy (an EPA employee but there representing the Union for professionals at EPA’s HQ and the EPA itself) sat through 8 hours testimony which attempted to anoint fluoride as a “nutrient” (along with calcium, magnesium, phosphate and Vitamin D) needed for healthy teeth, even though there is absolutely no scientific evidence that it is. As part of this travesty they determined that the upper tolerance limit (UL) for exposure to fluoride was 10 mg per day for humans over 8 years of age. In the derivation of this figure they used the end point of bone damage and included NO safety factor (an uncertainty factor of 1)! Again and again we raised questions as to why they had not considered other end points in the literature (of which there are several) and why they had dispensed with any safety margin on the one end point they did consider to account for: heavy water drinkers and people will ailments like poor kidney function. They had no answers –but boy, do they know how to wriggle. The technical quality is not great but for those fighting fluoridation the material is riveting. This 2 hour tape is an edited version which concentrates on the exchanges on fluoride – an unedited version is also available.
Released October 1997.
Fluoride & the NAS: The "protected pollutant" and the Perversion of Science.
It was rather a last minute idea to videotape this press conference in the National Press Club, in Washington, DC. It is just as well we did because despite holding this conference right under the noses of the national media, only one journalist showed up –and she was there because she was a friend of one of the participants! This was most disappointing because quite a number of respected scientific opponents of fluoridation had made the long journey to Washington. They did so to raise their concerns about the way that both the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) were stonewalling efforts to get some real science into the fluoridation debate. Specifically, the panel of experts raised objections to the attempt by the Food and Nutrition Board to “anoint” fluoride as a “nutrient” with a totally unscientific and unacceptable upper tolerance limit, and the reluctance of the Presidents of the NAS and the IOM to address these concerns (see video 4 above).
This videotape features presentations by Dr. Albert Burgstahler, Dr. Paul Connett, Dr. William Hirzy, Dr. Lennart Krook, Dr John Yiammouyiannis, and Paul Beeber (Legal Council and President of the New York Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation).
On a very sad personal note, it was on the car journey from Ohio to Washington DC that Albert Burgstahler discovered that John Yiammouyiannis was suffering from colon cancer, which would take his life the following year.
Released June 1999
Fluoride, The Brain and Scientific Integrity.
This interview took place on October 24, 1996. For the first time on video Mullenix explains the background to her groundbreaking rat study* which showed that, contrary to accepted scientific opinion, fluoride crosses the blood brain barrier and concentrates in the brain. She explains how her revolutionary experimental set up could track the patterns of the motions of rats using video cameras connected to computers. These patterns showed that rats dosed with fluoride in their water after birth became hypoactive (under active) and those dosed before birth became hyperactive. Even more striking than her results, was the way she was treated after they became public. She was grilled twice by scientists and PR people from the National Institute for Dental Research and Craniofacial Reseach (NIDCR) and the US Public Health Service. She was urged by the director of the Forsythe Dental Centre, where she was chairman of the toxicology department, not to publish her study. When she did, she was fired. In the interview Mullenix explains her connection to Dr. Harold Hodge, the chief toxicologist of the Manhatten Project and one of fluoridation’s most ardent scientific promoters. Mullenix’s story is heavily featured in Chris Bryson’s book “The Fluoride Deception” (Seven Stories Press, 2004) who also explains the involvement of Hodge in human experiments where patients –without their knowledge –were injected with plutonium. (This video was modified and re-issued in Video # 10 below).
Released October 1997.
* Neurotoxicity of sodium fluroide in rats. Mullenix PJ, Denbesten PK, Schunior A, Kernan WJ. Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 1995 Mar-Apr;17(2):169-77.
Fluoride and the Brain. Dr. Phyllis Mullenix.
Two modifications were made to the earlier tape (above). Images were overlaid on the interview (pictures of Mullenix’s lab and equipment; the Forsythe Dental Center; Jack Hein and Harold Hodge) and her presentation at the 22nd ISFR conference in September 1997 was added.
Edited version released June 1999.
Why I Changed My Mind on Fluoridation.
In May 1998 Paul had the honor of interviewing one of the great heroes in the anti-fluoridation movement. However, before 1980 Dr. Colquhoun had been one its most effective champions in New Zealand. He did this as both the Principle Dental Officer for Auckland and as a city councilor. In the interview he explains how he was turned around. In 1980 he was sent on a 4 month world tour to collect the evidence that would convince the doubters that fluoridation was a very effective way of fighting tooth decay. He went to Australia, Asia, North America and Europe. To his chagrin he found talking to researchers behind the scenes that they were finding no, or little, difference in tooth decay in children in fluoridated and non-fluoridated communities. When he came back to NZ and checked the national data (unusual because in NZ they examine every 5 year old and every 12 old for tooth decay) he found the same thing. Then when he also found serious cases of dental fluorosis appearing in the fluoridated parts of Auckland he decided to go public. It is not easy to change one’s mind, but to do it publicly and reverse such a strongly held position took real courage and integrity. I have never been so impressed with any interviewee in my life. He had no hard feelings for his opponents even though they treated him rather poorly after he changed his position. He died in 1999.
Re-edited May 1999.
Fluoride, the Pineal Gland and Melatonin.
Jennifer Luke and her husband are both dentists. In 1997 she successfully defended her Ph.D. thesis. In this interview, and a presentation made at the 22nd International Society for Fluoride Research (ISFR) conference in Bellingham, Washington, Luke explains how she hit upon the idea of researching the levels of fluoride in the human pineal gland. This gland is located between the two hemispheres of the brain, is not protected by the blood brain barrier, and has a very high perfusion rate of blood and most importantly it is a calcifying tissue. Like the teeth and the bones it lays down crystals of calcium hydroxy apatite, which act like a magnet for fluoride. Luke found two things:
a) fluoride did indeed concentrate on these crystals to very high levels (average 9000 ppm) and
b) in animal studies fluoride lowered the production of melatonin (the hormone made by this gland which acts like a biological clock) and shortened the time to puberty.
Since this tape was released the first part of her thesis has been published (Fluoride deposition in the aged human pineal gland. Caries Res. 2001. Mar-Apr;35(2):125-8).
Released March 1999.
Silico-fluorides, Lead and Violent Behavior.
Roger Masters is a Professor of Government at Dartmouth College specializing on the relationship between violent crime and the exposure to toxic chemicals like lead and manganese. Myron Coplan is a chemical engineer and has had many years experience advising the phosphate chemical industry. This unlikely combination had stumbled upon the fact that there appears to be correlation between the use of the silico-fluoride compounds as fluoridating agents (hexafluorosilicic acid and its sodium salt) and
a) the incidence of violent crime and
b) the level of lead in children’s blood.
To their astonishment not only are these fluoridating agents used to treat over 90% of the water fluoridated in the US, but they have never been subjected to long term toxicological testing. We are flying blind! These findings have been subsequently published (1999, 2000•) and have caused considerable consternation among the promoters of fluoridation, who have done their best to discredit them. Unfortunately, the technical quality of this tape is poor. In particular it is difficult to read the data displayed in charts.
Released June 1999.
• Water Treatment with Silicofluorides and Lead Toxicity; by R.D. Masters, M.J. Coplan. Intern. J. Environ. Studies 56: 435-449 1999.
• Association of silicofluoride treated water with elevated blood lead; by Masters RD, Coplan MJ, Hone BT, Dykes JE. Neurotoxicology. 2000 Dec;21(6):1091-100.
Dr. Hardy Limeback. Leading Dental Researcher Speaks Against Fluoridation.
Dr. Limeback was formerly the President of the Canadian Association for Dental Research and a spokesperson on fluoridation for the Canadian Dental Association. He has his own dental practice in Missasauga, Ontario, Canada, and heads the Department of Preventive Dentistry at the University of Toronto. In this interview he explains why, like Dr. John Colquhoun, he has changed from a pro to anti fluoridation position. Over 500 copies of this tape have already been distributed and shown extensively on local Cable access TV channels.
• This video was a joint production with Fluoride Action Network.
Released May 2000.
Re-thinking Fluoridation. EPA Headquarters Union Calls for Moratorium.
This videotape was filmed and edited by Michael Connett. The first part features a presentation by Dr. William Hirzy to a US Senate Hearing on safe drinking water standards including arsenic and fluoride. Dr. Hirzy’s explained his union’s call for a moratorium on water fluoridation•. Dr. Hirzy is the Vice-President of the Union that represents professional workers at the US EPA headquarters in Washington, DC. In the second part of the tape Dr. Hirzy explains to Michael the shenanigans which went on to downplay the National Toxicology Program (NTP) findings on cancer in animals treated with fluoride and how Dr. William Marcus was fired after becoming too vocal on this. Like the Limeback tape (video 17) this tape has been distributed widely and has been shown on several local public access cable TV stations.
• See May 1, 1999, statement by Dr. Hirzy: Why EPA's headquarters Professionals' Union Opposes Fluoridation.
•• This video was produced by Fluoride Action Network.
Released May 2001.
Part 1. Industrial Fluoride Pollution. Part II Fluoride Poisoning in India. An interview with Dr. Chinoy.
The first part of this videotape shows the devastating impacts that fluoride emissions from aluminum smelters has had on vegetation and grazing cattle. The second part is an interview Paul had with Dr. Chinoy at the 24th International Society for Fluoride Research conference held in Poland in 2001. Dr. Chinoy explains some of her work treating sufferers of skeletal fluorosis in her home state of Gujarat, India, as well as her extensive animal research program. Her demonstration that better nutrition (especially treatment with calcium, vitamin C and vitamin E) can partially reverse some of the symptoms of skeletal fluorosis offers an important warning to America. Fluoride is most toxic for people with poor nutrition, and yet it is the children of low income families who are being targeted with fluoridation programs in the US-- which is precisely where one is most likely to find poor nutrition.
Released April 2001.
A Warning From Prague: Aluminum Fluoride, G-proteins and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Dr. Anna Strunecka, a physiologist from the Czech republic, has published extensively on the dangers posed by the fact that fluoride, in the presence of a trace amount of aluminum, switches on G-proteins. Paul interviewed Dr. Strunecka in her departmental office at King Charles University in Prague. In the interview she explains how G-proteins function by passing messages across membranes and how interference with this could be very dangerous for the body and how the aluminum tetrafluoride complex’s ability to mimic phosphate may be implicated in Alzheimer’s disease.
• See: Strunecka A, Patocka J. (1999). Pharmacological and toxicological effects of aluminofluoride complexes. Fluoride 32: 230-242. This paper is available online.
Released August 2001.